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Preserving the Taste of Summer at NewBo

Canning is making a comeback and is a good way to enjoy produce year-round. However, canning needs to be done properly using a USDA-tested recipe to ensure a safe product. Iowa State University Extension and Outreach offers a program for those interested in learning more about safely preserving food, Preserve the Taste of Summer. This program includes hands-on workshops providing the most current USDA-approved food preservation recommendations.

This summer, Cedar Rapids-area residents will have the opportunity to build their food preservation skills with two different hands-on workshops held at the Kirkwood Culinary Kitchen in NewBo. Cost is $35 per workshop and the registration deadline is one week prior to the class date.

June 8, 1-5pm: Salsa Making. To register visit:

June 30, 1-5pm: Jams and Dehydrating. To register visit:

Salsa Making

Where can I find a tested recipe for home preserved salsa?

  • Always choose and use a tested recipe for home preserved salsa.

  • These recipes have been tested to ensure that there is enough acidity to balance the amount of low acid vegetables in salsa.

  • The onions, peppers, garlic, and tomatoes are low in acid so they must be combined with a quantity of acid to make a mixture that is safe to process in a boiling water bath canner.

  • If there is not enough acid in the salsa, the botulism bacteria can grow.

  • Using a tested recipe and following it without changing the recipe is the only way to guarantee safety.

  • Safe tested recipes can be found here:

  • Preserve the Taste of Summer publications

  • National Center for Home Food Preservation

Jams and Dehydrating

Jams basics

  • Basic ingredients:

  • Fruit – provides the characteristic color and flavor to the product.

  • Pectin – substance that causes fruit to gel.

  • Sugar – important ingredient that must be present in the proper proportion with pectin and acid to make a good gel.

  • Acid – needed for both gel formation and flavor.

Dehydrating basics

  • 2 methods to safely dry foods at home:

  • Using a thermostatically-controlled electric dehydrator.

  • Electric or gas oven (must be able to maintain temperature of 140 - 145°F)

Prepare items:

  • Choose high quality produce, wash, and prepare soon after harvesting.

  • Fruits: Pre-treatment of lighter-colored fruits is important to prevent darkening.

  • Cut into thin, uniform slices for even drying.


  • Place dried foods in tightly closed container.

  • Stir or shake every day for a week (equalizes moisture).

  • If food is still too moist, return to dryer.


ISU Extension and Outreach


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